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Beyond the arc: Duke men's basketball survives Georgetown in 2K Empire Classic championship

After a slow start to the year offensively, Wendell Moore Jr. had a nice breakout game against Georgetown
After a slow start to the year offensively, Wendell Moore Jr. had a nice breakout game against Georgetown

Coach K picked up his record-breaking 218th win as an AP No. 1 ranked team as the Blue Devils escaped a very capable Georgetown basketball team. The Blue Zone gives you the key takeaways from Friday night's victory:

Three key takeaways: 

1. Wendell Moore Jr. breaks out

For Wendell Moore Jr., this was the breakout that everyone had been waiting for. Of the four recruited freshmen in the Blue Devils' star-studded rookie class, Moore seemed to be the only one who hadn’t provided a dominating performance yet. But against the Hoyas, he ended the night with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with six rebounds and three assists. The 6-foot-6 forward got the start for the second night in a row and made easy work with the Georgetown defense, slicing into the lane with a series of smooth finishes. 

2. Mathew Hurt disappears 

Matthew Hurt got the start again tonight—and that’s all. The 6-foot-9 forward finished the contest with only five minutes played, all in the first half. It wasn’t exactly clear what held Hurt out of the game, but no signs pointed to an injury, which means Coach K was not liking what he was seeing. A usually large contributor, the Minnesota native finished 0-for-4 from the field with two rebounds and one assist. 

3. Omer Yurtseven picks apart the Blue Devil big men

Hoyas center Omar Yurtseven seemed to dominate the paint tonight. Much of the game was a battle between the international baller and Vernon Carey Jr., but the tides dramatically turned when both Carey and Javin DeLaurier picked up their fourth fouls. Yurtseven dropped 21 points, only missing four shots, two of those misses being jumpers. The inability to defend down low will have to be a point of emphasis going forward for Duke.

Three key stats:

1. 51 total fouls

While the officiating across the game was questionable, the sheer amount of game stoppages was shocking. The two teams combined for 51 total fouls—plus one technical foul by Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing— equating to more than one foul per minute. The even more surprising part is many of the fouls were offensive, which heavily contributed to the 45 total turnovers. 

2. Largest deficit: 11

The moment came with six minutes and 11 seconds left in the first half: Georgetown forward Galen Alexander knocked down a three to extend the Hoya lead to 11 points, Duke’s largest deficit of the season. The entire first half was a reality check for the Blue Devils, but that moment took them down to their rock bottom and forced a mentality change that allowed them to rebound and eventually make a strong comeback. 

3. Cassius Stanley goes 3-for-3 from downtown

There were some doubts coming into this season about Cassius Stanley's shooting ability, but he proved everyone wrong tonight. Commonly known for his athleticism and slashing ability, Stanley took his game outside the arc instead, burying all three of his 3-pointers. The Los Angeles native seemed to have found his spot too: the corner. 

Looking forward:

The Blue Devils will head back to Durham for their next contest Tuesday against a 4-1 Stephen F. Austin team.  The Lumberjacks haven’t faced much competition yet this year, but leading scorer Kevon Harris is always a threat to drop big numbers.  

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